Just hours before the Benton High School football team ran onto the field last Friday – two students were ordered to remove a logo from the end zone because it included a cross, a Bible verse and the word “Christ.”
“You have to stand up for Christ no matter what (and we) just told the coaches we wouldn’t do it,” one of the students wrote on social media. “We ended up leaving the field and not helping them cover up the Scripture that was put on the field.”
The logo belonged to Christ Fit Gym, a faith-based gymnasium in nearby Bossier City, Louisiana. It included the words “Christ Fit Gym,” a cross and a Bible verse reference, 1 Timothy 4:8.
Owner Billy Weatherall tells me he paid the high school football booster club $3,500 to put his logo in the end zone for the 2018-19 football season.
“We have a signed contract,” he told the Todd Starnes Radio Show.
“I got a phone call from a school official Friday morning while I was having my quiet time and drinking coffee,” Weatherall said. “He said they were instructed to paint over the cross and he was devastated about it.”
After he hung up the telephone and talked to his wife, Weatherall knew that he was going to have to take a stand.
“This is something I believe in,” he said. “This is what my faith is all about. This is something I cannot and will not compromise on.”
A judge granted a temporary restraining order to prevent anyone from removing the signs – but it was too late.
Attorney Ryan Gatti, who is representing Christ Fit Gym, told television station KSLA that he could not believe the school would tell students to remove the logo.
“Just let that sink in,” he told the television station. “They were told to spray paint over the name of Christ.”
The Bossier Parish School Board’s legal counsel advised the high school’s administration that the logo should be removed pending consultation with the court.
“The logo of the business included a Cross and Bible verse and was painted on the football field yesterday,” the statement read. “A challenge to the logo was received from counsel for the plaintiffs in a pending federal lawsuit alleging improper endorsement of religion in the schools.”
Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a federal lawsuit against the school district in February, alleging the district was promoting Christianity and proselytizing students.
Bossier Press reports the lawsuit alleges “widespread use of prayer on school property, during school events, in classrooms at all levels, at sporting events at graduation ceremonies, during awards assemblies, and at student government meetings.”
It’s not exactly clear what kind of godless heathen complained about the gymnasium’s logo – but I’m not sure they have a legal leg to stand on. But it doesn’t matter because they picked a fight with the wrong Christian.
Weatherall tells the Todd Starnes Radio Show that he plans on fighting the good fight to have his logo restored.
“What would Jesus do? Jesus would not say this is okay. Jesus would not allow His name to be stamped out,” he told me. “I want to fight this fight.”
There are some mighty good people in Bossier City – and among them are Billy Weatherall and those two brave young teenage boys who stood up to those school officials.
“No matter what people say, you have to stand up for Christ even if it could get you in trouble with the school, or anyone else,” the young man wrote.